The long-term benefits far outweigh the awkwardness of that single first date.
“You can’t keep dancing with the devil and ask why you’re still in hell.”― Kynna Claire
I was one of the lucky ones.
My wife and I met when we were both pretty heavy drinkers and became best friends. We luckily continued to be best friends after we both made the decision to become alcohol-conscious, but I’m not sure how likely this would be for others in the same situation.
I dated a lot of people while I was drinking and all of my first dates involved meeting someone at a bar or restaurant and drinking to “grease” the social skids and make that first interaction more comfortable for all parties involved.
And while this generally made the night fun and led to me finding a few long-term girlfriends along the way, I often wonder about how I could’ve been short-changing myself by being so focused on only dating women who were open to drinking on the first date.
While dating sober can be a bit scary initially because of how nervous you might find yourself on that first date, the benefits are tremendous if you are willing to give it a shot.
You’ll have to be more creative on your first date
The number of dates I had that involved going to a bar are so many I couldn’t even begin to count them.
And while this may not seem like the worst thing in the world, if you’re trying to truly impress someone on a first date, asking them to a bar is not a good look (as the kids would say).
When in college and shortly after college, going on dates at bars seemed like the thing to do, but as I continued my drinking career well into my 30s, I never quite graduated from this pretty baseline idea of a date.
Had I stopped drinking at a younger age, I could’ve been exposed to the numerous other ideas available that could make a date more memorable than just sitting at a bar and chatting it up.
While I wouldn’t recommend dinner and a movie to be the go-to substitute (been done a number of times), you’ll increase the chances that you’ll think of some other unique idea by eliminating these trite choices from your consideration set.
You’ll have to be prepared to truly share ideas and communicate
By knowing that you cannot fall back on alcohol to allow the conversation to flow more easily about nothing, you’ll be forced to ensure you are prepared to be open and communicative while on dates.
Many times, while drinking, we can default to drinking enough in a short amount of time that the conversation can flow in all types of different directions but comes to nothing of significant substance.
This is one reason that two people can date for a number of months, or even years, because they have “fun” together only to realize that they never talked about anything serious in regards to personal philosophies or some of the “big” questions in life, e.g., marriage, religion, how to raise kids, etc.
By ensuring that you are sober during your interactions, you’ll increase the chances that eventually more serious topics will present themselves and you’ll have the opportunity to truly know if you are compatible long-term with each other.
You won’t have to worry about one of you doing something stupid that could ruin the date
We’ve all been there.
Things are going swimmingly well. The alcohol is flowing and the chemistry between you two seems to be flowing as well.
You are enjoying your time so much that you decide to turn it up a notch and see where the night takes you.
Four shots later, you’re not sure exactly what you did, but your date doesn’t seem to be having as good of a time as you are anymore.
You remember them saying something about “why go on a date with someone if they’re going to flirt with someone else”, but it’s a bit of a haze.
The next day, you can’t quite remember how you got home, but you see the last text your date sent to you was the instruction to lose their number.
You feel bad because you can’t 100% remember what happened and now you have to try to piece it back together to see if there’s any chance to salvage this because you really liked this one.
Dating sober will definitely prevent this.
You decrease the chances of inviting sex into the equation too early
Good old sex.
We like it. We love it. We want some more of it.
There’s nothing wrong with sex at all with someone you really like and enjoy spending time with.
However, if your goal is to find that special someone for a long term relationship, introducing sex too early into the interaction can send some confusing signals to all parties involved.
One: You could still be trying to figure out if this person is the right person for you, but since you cross over into the sex threshold, the other person might feel that decision has been made.
Two: You could have great sexual chemistry with this person but little else. This, in turn, could cloud your judgment and keep you in a relationship that you know doesn’t have a long-term future just because of that reason.
Three: The sex could be terrible and since you haven’t developed a true connection with that person, you may then decide to cut them off immediately instead of working through it, as anyone can get better at anything with a little guidance and practice.
All in all, waiting on sex is ideal if you’re looking for something serious and dating sober makes that a lot easier to accomplish.
You’ll get a chance to know if you REALLY like someone
This last reason is truly what lies at the crux of this post.
Alcohol is awesome because it can turn any mundane, boring situation into a fun time.
For this reason, it can be challenging to know if your chemistry with someone is natural and real based on sharing common interests and compatible communication styles/philosophies or are both of you just drunk, sexually aroused with each other, and just going with the flow to have fun.
There’s nothing wrong with having fun because that should be the stalwart of any great relationship, but you should be able to do so without alcohol being the catalyst to create the fun.
Enjoying each other’s company sober and truly diving into the depth of each other’s personalities will allow you to truly know if this person is a good fit for you and if you could see this developing beyond surface level attraction and enjoyment.
And while I admit it might be a bit awkward on those first few dates as you learn how to date sober, the long-term results of this decision will bode well for your chances of finding that special someone so you don’t have to go on another first date again.